Travelogue to Turkey- Part VI-Konya - Mevlana museum and Sultanhani Caravanserai
From the Selimiye mosque, we walked in a group to the Mevalana Museum. It was the mausoleum of Jalaluddiin Al-Rumi, a Persian Sufi also known as Mevlana or Maulana in our language or Rumi (another title given to him). It was also the dervish lodge of the Mevlevi order, better known as the whirling dervishes.
As mentioned before, Finar did talk a lot about Mevlana Jalaluddiin Al-Rumi in the bus, before we reached Konya. I took some notes but might missed out a lot. So before went back to Malaysia, I had an opportunity to grab a book on this man in one of the bookstore. It was just about 260 pages, which I'd almost completed reading it. Frankly speaking, I was not fond of this man, but just out of curiosity I read about him to know why a lot of people adored him so much and followed his footsteps.
Who's Jalaluddiin Al-Rumi?
His real name was Muhammad Jalal Al-Din. He was named as Hudawandigar, Mevlana/ Mawlana and A-Rumi. His father named him "Hudawandigar" because of his being an authority in religious and other sciences. As for "Mawlana", it was given to him while he was very young and engaged in teaching. it means "Our Master" or "His Excellency". As for "Rumi" , it was used for his being settled in Anatolia, which was used to be called Diyar-I Rum (The abode of the Greek), and his living much of his life in Konya, a distinguished city of Anatolia. He was born in Balkh City in Khorasan on 30th September, 1207.He belonged to a Nobel family. His father, Baha al -Din Walad was a famous scholar and Sufi mystic (Also called Sultan of Scholars). He followed his father migrated from Balkh before Balkh was destroyed by Mongol and later part settled in Konya.
Al-Rumi's first teacher non other than his father, who trained him to become mature and an owner of good sense even while he was a child. When his father died, Al-Rumi inherited his position as the islamic teacher (molvi). One of Baha Al-Din students, Sayyed Burhan Al-Din Muhaqqiq Termazi, continued to train Al-Rumi in the Shariah as well as Tariqa, especially that of Rumi's father. He practised Sufism and later became an Islamic Jurist, issuing fatwas and giving sermons in the mosques of Konya. He was loved very much by his disciples
It was his meeting with the dervish Shams Al-Tabrizi in November 1244, that completely changed his life. From an accomplished teacher and jurist, Rumi was transformed into an ascetic. These two friends together sank into God's light and divine conversations. But the people could not stand their Mawlana's cutting off his relationship with themselves and started gossiping jealously about Shams. As a result of hostilities, Shams was forced to leave Konya in March 1246 and went to Damascus.
Having lost his true and great friend, Al-Rumi sank into a deep suffering and cut off relations with all his friends, and finally, isolated himself entirely from everyone. Everybody was remorseful for what they had done. Meanwhile, Shams sent a letter to Al-Rumi. upon this letter, Al-Rumi joyfully started again dancing the sema' (whirling dance), writing poems, and complimenting his friends. The people, who were jealous of the , 'repented' and ask Sultan Walad (Al-Rumi's son) to go to Damascus and looked for Shams. Sultan Walad, along with a letter written in verses, went to Damascus and found Sha,s and invited him to Konya once again. Shams considered Al-Rumi's letter and invitation as an order, and returned together with Sultan Walad to Konya in May 1247,
This time everybody was pleased with Shams's arrival in Konya. Feasts were given, sema' sessions were arranged, and the days full of conversation and chat started in his honour. However, these days of love and tranquility did not last long. People started again, grudge and enmity against Shams. Shams suddenly disappeared in the night of 5th December, 1247. Al-Rumi was not told about this incident, however, the news of Shams's disappearance was spread around. The works written after Al-Rumi's death only shed a bit of light upon his mysterious death.
Upon Shams's death, Al-Rumi recited poems that burned hearts by the grief of that separation. many of these poems written under the title of "Shams" in the Diwan Al Kabir. At that time, in order to find Shams, Al-Rumi went to Damascus, but unable to see him. However, Shams's meaning reflected upon Al-Rumi and made him live in his heart.
Al-Rumi had written 5 major books. 2 of his famous works were the Mathnawi and Diwan al Kabir. The Mathnawi came in 6 volumes of poems regarded by some Sufis as the Persian-language Quran. It was considered by many to be one of the greatest works of mystical poetry. Diwan al Kabir or Diwan al Shams Al Tabrizi, on the other hand named in honour of Rumi to Shams. Al-Rumi was adored by his people due to his personality. He sowed love to people regardless of the religion, being tolerant, humble and generous.
Hahaha...why do you think I wrote so much about this man. As I told you earlier I couldn't understand why he was really taken as a great Mawlana...especially among the Turkish people who considered him as a holy. At first, I thought it might be the followers were so ta'sub with him. He himself might be a real pious man. When I read on the part talking about his tomb, somehow I think there were some issues believing him just like other pious scholars.
Ok...my issue is when I read the chapter talking about his tomb.
Mawlana also made a will about the tomb that would be erected over his grave:
"Let our disciples build a high tomb which can be seen from far and wide. If any one sees our tomb for a far distance, and believes and has confidence in our sainthood, God will put him or her among those who receive divine mercy. Especially, if he or her who visits, and prays at our tomb with full of love and sincere faith free of hypocrisy, sincere of metaphor, and true knowledge free of suspicion, God will fulfil his every need and make him attain his wishes. His all religious and worldly wishes will turn out to be true"
I really had a problem with his will...Because in Islam, firstly our beloved Prophet Muhammad s.a.w prohibited us erecting structures over the graves, and some scholar even took it as haram. Secondly, the will encouraged people to pray at his tomb...this is kind of worshipping the death and this's definitely haram, haram and haram. They did exactly the opposite and the people until this day doing this haram act.
The author continue:
His tomb was built as high in accordance with his will. The tomb, which is also known as the Green Dome was built by the efforts of Sultan Walad and Ala Al-Din Qaysar....
Molla Jami's lyric couplet was written over the door of the tomb:
This post became the Holy Ka'ba for lovers.
He, who came here as immature, became mature.
So, Mawlana's tomb, which was a Ka'ba for lovers, also became a kind of holy place visited by people and a qiblah for the prayers offered by troubled people for seven centuries.
So, you can understand the extend of love of the Turkish people to him and his influence not only stopped in Turkey but transcends national borders and the ethnic divisions. May be I should just take it...Yes, he was a pious Sunni Sufi...but the people after him added on things on his practice. Anyway, a lot of sects started with the obsession of the followers.
Was it quite a heavy stuff to read...😜. We entered the museum. Finar told us it was a holy place. Formerly it was a mausoleum and there was a small masjid attached to it. When Kamal Atarturk became the first president of Turkey after the fall of Ottoman Empire...he had turned the mausoleum and the dervish lodge into a museum. Ida said...atleast Kamal Atarturk did the right thing for this one...😆.
We entered the building on the left side of the gate first, that's where the mausoleum of Jalaluddiin Al-Rumi was. Before entering this compound, we had to cover our shoes with a plastic cover. I did not recalled that much about the arrangement...but there were some other tombs belonged to Mawlana's families (including his father) and some dervishes as well as high ranking members of Mevlevi order. Under the green cylindrical dome which we saw earlier from the mosque...there was where the Mawlana's tomb located. I did not pay attention that much. But definitely realised a lot of people making doa in front of his tomb.
Adjoining to the mausoleum was a section where formerly was a small mosque and now used for the exhibition of a collection of old, including Quran and prayer rugs. There was also a box, claimed containing Prophet's beard and a small hole in which people can sniff from it. Ida tried to sniff and told me she didn't smell anything. I overheard somebody said, it smelled very good. Whether it's really had a very good smell or they might had spray the perfume there...Hmmm...wallahu'alam. I didn't know who to believe...may be Ida had a problem with her smelling sensation ..hahaha.
I might not paid attention that well...but there's also a section there called 'ritual hall' where the dervishes used to perform sema' (whirling dance)
We went out and entered into another building which used to be a kitchen. It was located on the right side of the mausoleum. The kitchen was also used for educating the dervishes and teaching the sema'.
Outside in the middle was a courtyard... Where there's supposed to be a fountain. But I just saw a small pond where a lot of coins was thrown inside it. There're always stupid people around this world who went and made a wish and threw coins there. So, if you think you don't have enough coin to go to toilet, you can always take it from here...😂
On the way out, we could see the dervish lodge located on the left side. We didn't enter this section.
Once finished, we waited at the meeting point outside the museum and while the rest went for a free toilet break. From there we walked back to our bus. On the way there, we stopped for a while at the souvenir shop. Main items sold here were related to the whirling dervish or mawlana or pictures of evil eyes symbol. From there we continued our journey to Cappdocia.
Before reached our hotel in Cappdocia, we stopped at Sultanhani Caravanserai. Caravanserai literally means 'caravan palace'. This building provided accommodation and other amenities for the merchants and stabling for their animals. It was situated on Konya-Aksaray highway and Sultanhani Caravanserai was the largest and best caravanserai of the Seljuk. It was built by Alaattin Keykubat I in 1229. It was restored and extended in 1278. After the extension it became the largest Caravanserai in Turkey.
It was free for the first three days, following that the traders had to pay if continued staying there. During this period, the ill would be treated and animals would be tended. It consisted of two sections, opened and covered. The open courtyard was used in summer and the covered one was used in winter. The courtyard was where the tied the camel at night in the opened area. It was surrounded by bedrooms, kitchens and depots.
This's considered like the inn during that time... Interesting in a way. I'd seen similar concept but smaller caravanserai last time in Spain. Can't remember which city it was.
From there we walked to the souvenir shops nearby, before proceeded our journey to Ramada hotel. We were going to stay here for 2 nights. This was the only place we stayed for 2 nights, the rest of the places we just stayed overnight and started journey to the next destination on the next day.
For those who're going to join the hot balloon ride, we had to wait in the lobby at 5 am in the morning. The rest can take their own sweet time because we're going to start our visit only at 9am. The hotel room was quite comfortable and this was the only hotel I could find an iron and iron board. That also, I only found it after I took nearly 15 minutes to complete ironing my quite thick cloth with the small traveler's iron...😂.
Ok...I had to wake up early tomorrow for hot balloon ride.
See you tomorrow from the balloon...👍😆